Run Barefoot Without Baring Your Sole

"Barefoot" running shoes jumping off the SoFla shelves

There's a strange-looking shoe popping up all over South Florida and people who wear them are getting weird-looks and lots of questions.

The shoes look like gloves for your feet, with a space for each individual toe.

The most popular ones are made by a company called Vibram and they're called Vibram FiveFingers. The shoes are designed to give you the sense of being barefoot without baring your sole.

Mike Osuna, who owns three Crossfit locations in South Florida, says about about one in every three members has a pair of Vibrams.

His head trainer, Gio Pico started wearing them last September and she swears by them. Pico uses the "barefoot shoes" as they're called, for working out and for running.

"I think all it's giving you is a little support," said Pico, "and you're using your body anatomically the way it's meant to be used."

This idea of minimalist shoes is becoming more and more common these days. Local shoe stores say they can't keep the Vibrams on the shelves, they're selling so fast.

"Personally, I'd like to wait a little longer before I start recommending them to people," said Frankie Ruiz, co-founder of the ING Miami Marathon, which takes place January 30th.

Ruiz is also a high-school cross country coach and leads several run clubs around South Florida. He says ever since the best-selling book "Born To Run" came out in 2009, he's been getting a lot of questions about the barefoot running movement and the shoes that go with it.

"They may be good for some and not so good for others," explained Ruiz. "I think that's when you should visit a podiatrist who's trained in the functional movement of a runner."

If "barefoot shoes" are for you, the Vibrams cost between $75 and $100 and even their biggest fans say they do take some getting used to.

Follow Adam Kuperstein on Twitter at @akuperstein.

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